SA teams' get return to play date
BREAKING NEWS: South Africa’s teams will, hopefully, return to the play in August.
SA Rugby Chief Executive Officer Jurie Roux told a video-conference call that domestic teams will most likely return to training next week – depending on government clearance.
That will allow SA to stage a domestic Super Rugby tournament in August, while international matches are planned for October and November.
Roux told the briefing that SA Rugby was collaborating with the government on return-to-train protocols – with a view to resuming competitive action in August – if not earlier.
Roux said that SA Rugby’s 500-page return-to-play manual had been in the hands of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture for some weeks.
“We believe we have a comprehensive and scientifically rigorous set of protocols to minimise the risk of transmission and allow a return to competitive rugby within the next two months,” said Roux. ”
Roux said while the situation remains “very fluid”, it is likely that most SA teams will return to training by next Monday or “soon after that”.
He said the loss of four months of playing, resulted in a revamp of the calendar – with a home-based, truncated domestic version of Super Rugby and the Currie Cup after that.
“Obviously, the international travel ban means Super Rugby will undergo a re-design – as it has in New Zealand and Australia – but we are looking forward to its resumption,” said Roux.
He also revealed that SA Rugby had allocated October and November as the timezones for the possibility of the return to Test rugby.
“There are a number of options,” said Roux.
“The postponed July tests could still take place here in October, while our Northern Hemisphere tour in November has not been cancelled.
“The possibility of playing the Rugby Championship in a single venue ‘bubble’ has also been workshopped.
“But as those all remain unconfirmed and reliant on factors outside of our control.
“But we also have a few other ideas up our sleeve, which we’re quite excited about, and will announce if and when they become necessary.”
He said in the event that none of the planned ‘international events’ take place, they have some “exciting” options they have been working on.
He said the August date for a return to play is a month earlier than they had anticipated.
Speaking of Super Rugby, he said – based on the fact that the Southern Kings and Cheetahs are unlikely to travel abroad – they will be part of the new domestic competition.
That will be followed by the Currie Cup and international windows.